Baie Sainte Anne Beach, Praslin, Seychelles Baie Sainte Anne Beach, Praslin, Seychelles © So Seychelles

Praslin, Seychelles: Travel Guide

Golden beaches, crystal-clear waters, lush forests and impeccable hospitality are just some of the elements that make the Seychelles somewhere close to heaven. Read on for the ultimate guide to this Indian Ocean paradise.

by 25 March 2015

Praslin is one of the islands part of the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of east Africa. As a holiday destination, the main island, Mahé, is visited the most, as there are a number of established luxury hotel and resorts. The locals speak Creole, French and English and are accustomed to visitors, as tourism is one of the most important sectors for the Seychelles economy.

Praslin is the second largest island after Mahé, and is known for it's world-famous beaches and championship golf course. Surprisingly, Praslin still remains somewhat of a hidden gem, offering a wealth of activities for luxury travellers, both on and off land. Below, we bring you our tried and tested recommendations.

Getting there

To get to Praslin, you need to fly into Mahé International Airport and take an internal flight to Praslin. Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airlines both fly direct from Dubai with an approximate flight time of 4h30. For internal flights, I recommend taking a 20-minute, scenic plane ride on Air Seychelles or you can fly private with Zil Air. They offer helicopters by Eurocopter, King Air Beechcraft 250, and a six seater, twin engine Vulcanair Aircraft. As a third option, or if you're not a fan of small aircrafts, there's a 60-minute ferry.

Where to stay

The Constance Lémuria has established itself as one of the first luxury resorts on Praslin, located on the northwest coast of the island and five minutes from Praslin airport. This five-star hotel is connected to three beautiful beaches accessible within minutes from most rooms. There are 88 palm-thatched, Junior Suites and 8 Senior Suites, designed in a minimalist, yet luxurious style with large bathrooms and a fully furnished terrace/balcony with private dining space.

Constance Lemuria Presidential Villa

Constance Lemuria Presidential Villa

With the beach only a few meters away, you can fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing onto the shore — complete bliss. One of the beaches is the renowned Anse Georgette, voted by Condé Nast Traveller magazine as the second most beautiful beach in the world. Visiting from Dubai where greenery is rare, I appreciated the abundance of lush vegetation, native Takamaka trees and flora surrounding the resort.

For the ultimate experience, the Presidential Villa is the epitome of exclusivity. Set in granite boulders on the southern tip of Anse Kerlan, this is your own private hotel within a hotel designed to deliver an experience unlike anywhere else in the Seychelles. The master suite has its own terrace bathroom with private whirlpool, sauna and steam bath. Two further suites accommodate three multi-level pools, with steps leading to a private beach. Endless features such as a fully equipped office and a private staff, chef and security eliminate the need to be anywhere else.

Anse Georgette © Constance Lemuira

Anse Georgette © Constance Lemuira

The beauty and exclusivity of the resort attracts visitors from Western Europe, South Africa and the Middle East. Honeymooners and couples looking to unwind and enjoy some R&R are the majority of the hotel's guests. When you enter the main reception, your eyes are drawn to the magnificent cascading water feature that leads to an infinity pool carved into granite rock, and the ocean as the backdrop — there's no need for a photo filter for any pictures taken here. As picturesque as it is during the day, the sunsets are simply breathtaking. Take a sunset stroll along the beach before dinner or enjoy the view from the Takamaka Beach Bar — the fresh pineapple and Takamaka rum cocktail was the perfect concoction to sip on while watching the day turn into night.

If a luxury holiday is not complete without a trip to the spa, U Spa offers massage and beauty treatments using both Shiseido and U Spa's own skincare products. It's easy to over-indulge while on holiday, and the Detox Massage is an ideal treatment. The therapist eases muscles with a series of lymphatic drainage techniques to help eliminate toxins.

Golfers Paradise

The Lémuria Golf Club is the only golf course on Praslin and one of two in the Seychelles. This championship par 70 18-hole golf course was designed by architect Rodney Wright and French pro-golfer Marc Antoine Farry in 2000. This course is open to the public with complimentary green fees for Constance Lémuria guests. If you're new to golf, be warned — this course is considerably challenging for any golfer and is known as "Golf of the Gods" due to its high elevation. The course spans 6,105 yards with outstanding views of the coastline, including three beaches and the pristine ocean. Said to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world by many seasoned golfers, you can expect immaculate landscaping with an plenty of trees, well-manicured greens, steep slopes, rocky ridges, dense woodland, multiple waterways and mostly narrow fairways. Golf carts are mandatory due to the demanding terrain.

Lemuria Golf

Lemuria Golf

Sailing

If you're ideal holiday includes heading offshore to cruise the open waters, island hop to the nearby islands (La Digue, Silhouette and Mahé) in style on a 60ft or 80ft luxury catamaran. You can plan day or overnight trips and most catamaran charter companies are available for private hire.

© Seychelles Catamaran

© Seychelles Catamaran

Snorkelling and Diving

If exploring marine life is on your list, you can arrange diving and snorkelling from the PADI dive centre located at the Constance Lémuria hotel. Be sure to pack your waterproof housing for your GoPro as you'll want to capture the beautiful coral and colourful fish. March, April, May, September, October, November, are the best months for underwater visibility with up to an astonishing 30 metres. Common species found in the Seychelles include: angelfish, butterflyfish, octopus, lionfish, mantis shrimp, parrotfish, stingrays, reef sharks and green and hawksbill turtles. La Digue doesn't have a natural harbour and is protected by coral reef and enormous pink granite boulders, which makes it a great for snorkelling.

Where to Eat

Constance Lémuria's Beach Bar & Grill is a restaurant like no other on Praslin. Set atop of a rock edge between the Petite and Grande Kerlan beaches, this fine-dining restaurant has stunning ocean views. The atmosphere is romantic with excellent service. Be sure to ask for Louis the sommelier. The grape selection is extensive and the food is extraordinary: with creole-inspired dishes, seafood specialties and imported meats. The décor has a dark mahogany wood theme with indoor and outdoor seating and a terrace that expands over the rocky edge. As one of Praslin's most popular fine-dining restaurants for lunch and dinner, reservations are essential. If you're celebrating a special occasion with a loved one, ask about their private dinner experience.

Private Dining Beach Bar & Grill

Private Dining Beach Bar & Grill

During my island hopping tour, I stopped to have lunch on the sleepy island of La Digue. We rented bicycles from locals at the jetty and after a short ride; we arrived at the five-star Le Domaine de L'Orangeraie resort. Their pool bar is the perfect pit stop to take in the scenery and enjoy a menu of international dishes. The pizza and the quesadillas were our favourites. As non-guests, be sure to make a reservation in advance.

Infinity Pool Bar - La Digue

Infinity Pool Bar at La Digue

To explore Creole cuisine, the evening buffet at The Legend is superb. Beware; gluttony is at risk with the vast selection of mouth watering international and Creole dishes. This was one of my favourite eateries on Praslin due to the complete variety of exotic dishes. The Job fish, (a common fish in Seychelles) served with in a light curry sauce was deliciously tender, and to the bemusement of my travel companions, I dined on bat leg (a local delicacy) cooked in spicy curry. The sampling of new, unusual cuisine was a talking point of our trip and still is today.

Praslin is truly a hidden treasure with plenty of preserved, natural beauty everywhere you look. From the turquoise, crystal clear water to lush rainforests, and white, powder sand beaches, this paradise island should be on top of your bucket list.